Awo's Statue in Ibadan Felled; Ladoja Declares "War"
Mobolaji E. Aluko, Ph.D.
Saturday, May 31, 2003
Awo's Statue Pulled Down
Chief Obafemi Awolowo's statue erected in front of the Oyo State Government
House at Agodi, Ibadan by the administration of former governor, Alhaji Lam
Adesina, was on Friday pulled down.
Alhaji Adesina, on Tuesday, May 27, 2003, commissioned the Awo statue to
replace the unknown soldier statue that had for the past few years occupied the
The Awo statue, which is 12 feet high and weighing 33,000 kilograms, was said to
have been built at a cost of N4 million.
But around 12-noon yesterday barely 48 hours after the statue was commissioned,
some people believed to be supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were
seen gathering around the cenotaph.
An hour later, the Awo statue was pulled down with the aid of a long hammer, saw
blade and other implements.
Though Saturday Tribune could not ascertain on whose instruction the statue was
pulled down, but some men, wearing uniforms with the inscription of PDP on it
were seen pulling it down.
Though there has not been any official statement from government, but the State
governor, Senator Rasheed Ladoja on Thursday while receiving the handover notes
said that all decisions and activities of the immediate past administration
between the time of the election and when he (Ladoja) was sworn in would be
Sunday, June 1, 2003
Ladoja declares war on destroyers of Awo's Statue
The Governor of Oyo State, Senator Rasheed Adewolu Ladoja, has declared an
all-out war on the perpetrators of last Friday's act of destroying the statue of
the sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo which was erected in front of the State
Government House, Agodi, Ibadan.
Senator Ladoja, while reacting to the incident yesterday in Ibadan, stated that
he had directed a full investigation into the incident and that anybody so
apprehended in connection with it must be brought to book.
The governor, in a press statement signed by Mr. Adeola Oloko, disclosed that he
himself is a product of Chief Awolowo and would never encourage any action
whatsoever towards destroying history.
He warned that his administration would not tolerate any act of hooliganism and
disregard for constituted authority….
Tongues have been wagging since the detestable deed was done. Some have been
pointing accusing fingers at the newly sworn-in government.
However, past events and antecedents of the State Governor, Senator Rasheed
Dewolu Ladoja, are contrary to this widely circulated opinion among the
According to an eyewitness who spoke to Sunday Tribune and would not want his
name in print, on Friday May 30, a day after the new governor was sworn in,
about five men gathered around the statue at about noon, climbed the Awo's
statue and dismantled it with hammers, chisels and other tools.
The men, who were allegedly in attires with the insignia of PDP-umbrella, the
green, white, red colours and the imprint of the PDP, were reportedly accosted
by security agents at the gate of the Government House.
"When the security men challenged them, the men didn't answer. One of them just
took out his GSM, pressed some numbers and handed the set to the security agents
who were just saying "yes sir, yes sir, yes sir" before they handed the phone
and went back to their duty post," the witness narrated.
The alleged decision of the security agents to turn a blind eye to the evil deed
was what fuelled thye pointing of accusing fingers at the government in power,
though, any chieftain of the two suspected parties, AD and PDP, could have been
on the line.
Though fingers are being pointed at the 96-hours-old PDP-led government over the
pull-down of Awolowo's statue, Engineer O. Adebbayo of Ward 9, Ibadan South-West
has denounced such speculations, saying that all Yorubas, irrespecdtive of their
different parties, are all children of Awolowo and sould not carry out such
A statement signed by State Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Bola
Alphonso, said a newspaper report which inferred that the destruction was
carried out by partymen could not have been in good faith, saying there was no
reason for such.
Chief Alphonso saif for all Chief Awolowo did for the socio-political
development of the South-West and Nigeria in general, no sane person would
embark on an action aimed at diminishing his person.
Insisting that the action was certainly the handiwork of PDP enemies, Chief
Alphonso said during the last electioneering campaign, some politicians
belonging to another party dressed in PDP uniform to perpetrate evil, so as to
tarnish the image of the party.
He said notwithstanding the destruction of the statue, a new and better statue
of Chief Awolowo would soon be built.
Finally, the party spokesman warned those who would want to bring down the new
government to desist as the long arms of the law would soon catch up with them….
As the "long arms of the law" have caught up with the killers of Chief Bola Ige,
ehn? If all the policeman guarding a whole live and breathing Attorney-General
of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in his bedroom in Ibadan (yes the same Ibadan)
can all "go to eat" at the same time, why can policemen guarding a dead and
still statue of Awolowo not turn a blind eye to a common statue? If the killers
of Ige have so far not been caught and jailed - and even his topmost murder
suspect is now a Senator-elect free on bail and and just in time to swear a
Federal Republic of Nigeria oath as a law-maker - how can the fellers of a
common statue be caught?
The hypocrisy of the late-action of the out-gone Adesina administration
notwithstanding, this nauseating Saddam-like toppling of Awo's statue in Ibadan
(complete with pictures, and as reported so far only by the Tribune) is bitter
poetic justice to the very fickle Tribune (owned by the Awolowo family), which
has exhibited many a suspicious political stance in the past several years, all
of which must have been causing the old sage to turn in his 16-year grave.
Even Mama Mrs. HID has been talking a little bit funny ma in recent days, not
to talk of Prince Pastor Oluwole.
Be careful what you ask God for - just in case you get it.
Shaking his head